Up to 400 people look set to lose their jobs as Ireland’s largest transport company College Freight told staff yesterday the company had ceased trading.
The privately owned company, which operates as Target Express and transports goods across Ireland, employs some 390 people in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain.
However, the bulk of its staff are employed in Ireland, with the company operating 12 depots throughout the country and four depots across a number of locations in Britain.
In yet another major jobs setback, approximately 300 of the jobs will be lost in the Republic with a further 90 going in Northern Ireland.
It is believed that the Revenue Commissioners placed attachments on the company’s bank accounts last Friday.
Negotiations had taken place over the weekend in a bid to reach a compromise that would allow the company to stay open, but it is understood outstanding issues were unable to be resolved.
Revenue has declined to comment on its dealings with the company, saying it does not discuss individual cases.
However, it is believed that tax liabilities had built up in the company and this is the main reason it has been forced to cease trading. It did not confirm the scale of the debt it owes to Revenue but it is believed to be less than €1m.
Employees were told of the situation yesterday and had not been paid normally last Friday. The company expressed its deep regret at the decision to cease trading and thanked employees and customers for their support since the company opened in 1988.
It remains unclear as to the next move for the firm. If it chooses to seek the appointment of a receiver, it could lead to it being sold as a going concern with the debts restructured. This could lead to some of the jobs, as well as its supply contracts, being saved.
As well as affecting staff, the closure is also sure to hit the company’s clients such as Smyth’s Toys, A-Wear and cosmetics giant L’Oreal. It is also the sponsor of the Tyrone senior football team.
Target Express began operating in Ireland 24 years ago. It operates depots and four logistics warehouses and has a fleet of over 500 vehicles. It was recently awarded Fleet Transport Irish Haulier of the Year 2012 and National Haulier of the Year 2012 at the Fleet Transport of the Year awards in Dublin.
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